Meet Lizzie, a new Newburgher. Read her short essay below about her house hunting journey and why she and her family chose to move to Newburgh. Quite an inspiring read! She will also be contributing posts to Newburgh Restoration about her adventures of raising a family and urban farming in the City. Thanks Lizzie!
I am a big fan of Newburgh Restoration, but I am an even bigger fan of The City of Newburgh. My family and I moved to Newburgh this last March from Rockland County because we were looking for a diverse community to raise our two young children. I am a writer and my husband is a theatre director and professor at The City College of NY. Newburgh is rich with culture, history and community. We knew that others had been migrating to Newburgh because of its beauty, diversity, proximity to NYC and affordability.
We have also been interested in the Newburgh community at large and how to cross the barriers of class and race. We live in the historic section of Newburgh in the second oldest house on our block. The moment I walked into the house I was taken in by its unusual architecture, light flooding into every room through distinct and unusual wall to wall windows. The wraparound porch was the first element of the house that pulled me in but it was the windows that I found so unusual. All of the front windows were framed with small, square, stained glass windows running along the top of the upper sash; creating patterns and light that complemented the patterns within the architecture of the house itself.
I grew up on Long Island in an old, historic, unique home and it was my dream to one day live in another old, one of a kind, historic home. The problem up until that point was where do we find a beautiful, AFFORDABLE, home, in a great community-centered neighborhood, with racial, ethnic and class diversity, good public schools, culture, artists and still be able to work in NYC? Newburgh was the perfect answer, plus it had the added advantage of majestic views of the mighty Hudson almost everywhere we looked.
During our search there were definitely times of discouragement but one day we were looking at two homes on the same street, same block and right across from each other. Both homes were gorgeous but were not the exact fit for us and when we came out of one of the homes I said to our realtor, Chris Hanson, “What about that one?” The house did not have a “For Sale” sign out in front but something pulled me to it regardless. “Oh, that one, that’s been on the market for a while. I think it’s a short sale. I’ll look into it.” Well, Chris looked into it and sure enough it was a short sale and within a week he had access to the house and I fell in love.
Short sales have now become easier but a year ago at the time of ours, short sales were all slow and unpredictable. We hit many bumps from a tree falling on the garage during Hurricane Irene to the nail biting moments waiting for the bank to make a decision. But it was all worth it. We love our 175 year old home, as do our children. The two other houses, next door and across the street, both sold at about the same time as ours and now our neighbors are some of our closest friends. There have been many mornings of having coffee together with our neighbors on our porch looking out over the Hudson, many pot-luck dinners, hilarious games of charades and celebrity and of course desperate moments of borrowing of a cup of milk, sugar and even vinegar. My son said to me soon after we moved here, “Mom, these are the best neighbors we have ever had.” I agree.